Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Defendants Want Access to NECC Files

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

The defendants in the drug compounding criminal case are asking a judge to block a move to put into storage thousands of documents from the defunct New England Compounding Center gathered in a related civil case.
In a motion filed today in U.S. District Court in Boston, Mass. the attorneys for nine of the defendants said having ready access to the files of their former employer were vital for their defense in upcoming criminal trials.
"Requestors will be prejudiced if the NECC's documents are archived at precisely the time when requestors will need to subpoena documents from NECC to defend themselves," the motion states.
Two of the defendants, Barry Cadden and Glenn Chin are scheduled to go on trial on Jan. 5 on charges that include 25 counts of second degree murder. The other defendants are scheduled for trial on lesser charges beginning April 10.
The NECC trustee had sought to put the records into archives as a cost saving measure, but the defendants argued that doing so would "thwart" efforts to defend themselves.
In addition they argued that Cadden had a contractual right to access the documents under his settlement agreement in the civil case.
The motion comes on the same day U.S. District Judge Rya Zobel held a monthly status conference on the civil case. She was presented details of a report from the trustee of a $200 million fund established to benefit victims of the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak caused by NECC.
According to the report from Lynne Riley checks have been issued for 275 victims with a value of $5.4 million or an average of a little over $19,000.
That represents about 14 percent of the total approved claims which number 1,979. According to Riley's report about 150 of those claims are being delayed because state Medicaid agencies have yet to review them for possible reimbursement claims.
Zobel indicated that she would issue an order to those state agencies if a response was not received by a mid-November deadline.
Attorneys for plaintiffs in the case reported that no objections had been filed against a proposal to pay nearly $12.5 million in legal fees for attorneys who did work for the benefit of all the NECC claimants.
In requesting those fees, the attorneys stated that they did not expect to actually receive any of those funds until the end of 2016 when victims will have received their initial awards.
"Virtually all claimants will have first received their first payments by the time the court approves an allocation," the motion stated.

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